View Full Version : 4 weeks into cycling 45 gallon

09-30-2006, 01:48 AM
and still not a trace of nitrite. The dip pad is white as can be. According to most charts, I should have started seeing nitrites a week or two ago.

I'm checking my water every 3 days, and every time I check, the ammonia is around 1.0. I've been doing 20% water changes to get keep the ammonia at .5. I thought that as long as you have ammonia in your tank, eventually, they will start breaking down into nitrites. I guess I'm asking how long 'eventually' is.

Here's the thing, though. The tetras are showing absolutely no sign of stress whatsoever, even with ammonia readings at 1.0. They are eating great, and actually look even better than the day I bought them.

So here's where I'm asking your advice:
-Should I just allow my ammonia to spike and only do water changes at signs of stress?


-Do I continue to keep the ammonia at lower levels? Will it continue to cycle with only low levels of ammonia, or do you really need a 'spike' for that to happen?

I don't mind being patient for the cycle to complete, but I don't want it to take several months, either.

Thank you in advance for your advice.

pH 7.0
ammonia 1.0
nitrite 0
nitrate 10
temp 80F

Lady Hobbs
09-30-2006, 04:03 AM
I'd strive to keep that ammonia at 0. Any ammonia at all is toxic. Keep up with the water changes but leave the gravel alone so not to disturb the biological thing going on. You do have nitrates so sounds as your tank may be nearly at the end of it's cycling but still has a way to go.

I think you will still see nitrites yet but will also have to change water often if that spikes.

You may also want to get some added bacteria to help finish with that cycling. Bio-spira is said to be the best but if you can't find it (it's only in petstores and refrigeratored) then Stress Zyme helps some. Feed fish sparingly during the cycling, as well.

It is a pain, isn't it? I had one tank that was cycled 3 times due to me messing up, cleaning too much and then once again from medication.

You will also want to get a master test kit and forget those strips. Not only are they expensive, they're insufficient to really get accurate readings. Good luck

09-30-2006, 05:31 PM
Well i wouldn't totally agree with Hobbs on this one. I would let your ammonia get up to 1.0 not anything above that. If you notice your fish stressing then by all means do a water change but by doing the constant water changes your slowing the whole process down. It stinks I know but nothing really you can do about it. I would suggest for any future cycling you will have to do always do it fishless. Another thing you can do if you have another tank your can get some gravel put it in a carbon bag and hang it in your tank for like 2 weeks then but the gravel in you new tank that will also speed up the process but NEVER get gravel from a friend or petstore you don't know what kind of diease is in it.

Lady Hobbs
09-30-2006, 05:43 PM
Probably why it took me forever to cycle? And tonight will be starting the process again with a different tank but believe me, this time it will go much smoother and with less fish!

09-30-2006, 07:04 PM
Well, I don't have access to any healthy established tanks, so I'm on my own with this one. I'm not about to ask PetSmart. I've seen their tanks. Yuck.

I have a low amount of nitrates because my tap water already contains some.

I thinks hobbs may have a point about the gravel, though. With my water changes, I've been siphoning the gravel, too. That's probably my mistake. Nowhere in any 'cycle advice' articles does it say to leave the gravel alone.

Thanks, guys. I'll stop getting the gunk out of the gravel and see how it goes.

Also, I'll most likely be doing all future cycling the fishless way, since it seems to make the most sense.

Lady Hobbs
09-30-2006, 08:45 PM
You are so bad! Leave that gravel alone so the nasty stuff can grow in there. Each gravel cleaning removes it and then you're starting over. Leave your filters alone, as well. Just rinse them off in tank water after doing a water change.

10-02-2006, 06:17 PM
You have to have ammonia for the tank to cycle. That is why you start with a few hardy fish or go "no fish" to cycle your tank. Your ammonia will sky rocket and then you will start to see nitrites. It took me over 8 weeks to see nitrites because I listened to idiots who told me to use chemicals like ammolock and perform excessive water changes. Here are my tips:

1. Do not perform water changes above 10% until you see significant nitrites present. Otherwise you will stress the new bacteria with the new water and may have to start all over again. Go to 20% water changes every couple days once you have significant nitrites. You should soon see nitrates levels increase dramatically. You should slowly see the ammonia levels drop as the nitrites increase. You will then freak out over the high nitrites. They too will subside as the nitrate levels increase. You should see nitrates relatively soon after the presence of nitrites.

2. Do not get tricked into using Bio-spira or other quick cycle garbage. It is expensive and most people will swear it does nothing. At $13 bucks a pop, do you really want to trust that it was stored properly. Experts do not use this product. I bought it twice and wasted my money.

3. Do not use Ammolock to make the cycle less stressful on your fish. This product converts the ammonia into a "less" toxic form but screwed up my cycle. It caused the ammonia to bind and created a thick coat of crap all over my filter. It also caused bad water quality issues until I stopped using it. It also causes false readings for your ammonia levels, so you no longer know how much "true" ammonia is in there. If you need Amolock after the cycle is complete, something is wrong with your tank and it needs to be addressed and not masked by this product.

4. A lower PH does help a little bit during this process, as the ammonia is slightly less toxic in the form of ammonium. I have kept mine around 6.6. Will go to around 7.0 once cycle completes.

It was only after using these tactics that my cycle all of a sudden began to click. I am almost there. If you are like me, you will find it very easy to do too much and screw up the whole works. I am no expert but can tell you that these pointers will save you a bunch of heartache.

Lady Hobbs
10-03-2006, 04:02 AM
Yoda.....would are very right to correct me because I was wrong. :( :(

"Well i wouldn't totally agree with Hobbs on this one. I would let your ammonia get up to 1.0 "

For one thing, a cycling tank will never get a 0 reading even with 100% water changes and would go nowhere with water under 1.0.

The 0 ammonia to strive for is after cycling but certainly not during the cycle. I stand corrected my friend and as always, you are correct.
Thank You

10-03-2006, 04:23 PM
Thank you, Topper. That's some good info there.

10-06-2006, 01:03 PM
I love cycling.. unless it rains.. then i get wet and cold and its not much fun. Ohhh cycling a fish tank... easy. Just put all your stuff in there... put the water in straight out of the tap. Leave it a week or so... then introduce a couple of hardy fish, then the nitrates will rise and then fall then you can introduce a few more fish on a 'drip feed' basis over a longer time period. No science from me as you can see. Anyone want to argue request a pic of my 2 crystal clear tanks, with no algae, healthy long lived fish, excellent plants and my cheesy grin.

Lady Hobbs
10-06-2006, 03:39 PM
(then the nitrates will rise and then fall then you can introduce a few more fish )

In the meantime, what happened to the ammonia and nitrite levels?